Saturday, June 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Malta tragedy: victims’ kin can file claim
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 8
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India in Rome, Italy, Mr V.K. Gupta, has informed the Ministry of External Affairs through a letter dated April 30, 2001 that on the suggestion of the Bar Association in Syracuse district, they had approached some lawyers there to seek advice if Malta tragedy victims could file a suit for compensation through the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission on the behalf of the victims. Out of those advocates, Mr Reale has expressed willingness to defend the victims against payment of 20 per cent of the compensation. He also indicated that the defendants could apply to the Italian state for legal aid. He also opined that victims’ families could insert claims for compensation in the ongoing criminal suit.

Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, send here today that as a result of constant efforts of the mission, Indian Embassy at Rome moved in the matter and approached leading advocates to seek consent to contest the cases. He added that Mr Reale advised that victims’ families should sign proxies and give those to the Probe Mission President, who should then sign all documents. He also holds the view that even if one or more victims’ families could sign a proxy authorising him to represent them he could seek postponement of the case and proxy should be endorsed by Public Notary. It was also informed by the Chief of the mission at Rome that the list of persons suspected to have been drowned in the accident and statements of witnesses, in English, were being sent to the Public Prosecutor in Syracuse.

Mr Khera stated further that in his letter addressed to Mr Gupta, Mr Reale advocate had indicated that since the Government of India and Embassy of India in Italy had decided not to be involved in the proceedings and just to assist the court the Italian law grants to those privates, who must institute a civil action for protecting their own interests and were in straitened circumstances, to have their defendants paid by the Italian State, after each trial stage, on the basis of minimum fee fixed by the Judge, as per rates approved by the Ministry of Justice. He advised all victims families to apply for legal aid. Mr Reale again stated emphatically that victims families should immediately give the special proxy to the association’s President, who should sign the documents in his presence.

Mr Khera had stated that in view of the urgency of the matter a meeting of the sufferers families was being called on June 20 in district Janata Dal office, Hoshiarpur to complete all documents and information regarding their particulars that was names, surnames, place of birth and date of birth, name of relative who died and degree of relationship (wife, son, father, mother, brother etc.)


Where NGOs do what govt should
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 8
With government departments failing in their duties even small works, such as covering of potholes, dewatering of rain water, putting up of road signs, maintenance of greenery on roads and dividers, providing drinking water to people, have been taken up by the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of the town.

Bathinda known as the heartland of the Malwa region, which has been described as the town of the future by many agencies, for its unique location and well-developed Railway network, has been at the receiving end due to red-tapism and complete lack of coordination amongst various departments.

Unhappy with the attitude of government agencies and officers, the NGOs of the city have started providing services which otherwise were the duty of the state agencies. The Sahara Jan Seva set up for helping road accident victims, cremation of unclaimed bodies and organising blood donation camps, now has started repairing the potholes and trenches dug up by the government agencies.

Due to the unique topography of the city many roads get flooded with rain water. The problem increases many times due to the numerous potholes, poor street lighting and no warning signs put up by the authorities. Volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva, who took up the job of repairing the roads, dug up for ”development” have many roads, including the trenches near the Nirankari Bhavan, Civil Hospital, Rajindra College, Hanuman Chowk, Grain Market, the Bathinda-Goniana road, the Mall Road crossing, Bibi Wala Road and the Ganesha Basti crossing.

Earlier, the volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva, started providing drinking water facility on railway platforms and bus stands, besides main roads and public places of the city. The district has the distinction of being the largest blood donoi in the country, much to the credit of the NGOs. The district administration failed to provide blood collection bags to the United Welfare Society, an NGO of the city, last month and the blood donation camp organised by them had to be “postponed”.

Plantation by the Municipal authorities on the road-dividers is under the care of Arpan, a sister concern of the Sahara Jan Seva, established especially for the purpose. Protective covering, trimming, even watering of plantation is done by the volunteers of Arpan. Many noted residents have pointed out, time and again, that the accident victims have always been rescued by the ambulances of the Sahara Jan Seva. “What the ambulances of the Civil Hospital and the district Red Cross were doing at that time, is anybody’s guess, they alleged.

Even the road signs, precautionery, warning, informative and even welcome sign boards have been set up by the NGOs, of the city. The city has the distinction of organising a number of blood donation camps, vaccination camps, AIDS awareness camps, literacy camps organised by NGOs.

Mr Vijay Goel, president, Sahara Jan Seva said, “One should not look at what the government was doing. Do it yourself for everybody’s welfare.” Mr Vijay Bhatt, president, United Welfare Society, also presented the same viewpoint.

A senior official of the Municipal Council said the services rendered by the NGOs was unparalled and should be looked beyond the monetary terms. It was not possible for the government agencies to work, the way the NGOs did, due to “procedural” problems, bureaucratic hurdles and tiring and cumbersome paper work. If we start putting up warning signs for potholes, every nook and corner of the city would have such boards, he added.


Lawyers offer help to newspapers
Our correspondent

Kharar, June 8
As many as 44 advocates of Kharar have decided to extend legal help to the Press in a case filed by two persons in the court of Ms Harinder Sidhu, Civil Judge, yesterday for permanent injunction, restraining editors and printer publishers of seven national and Punjab newspapers from publishing any news items in their papers concerning the land of the plaintiff and co-shares at Khanpur village in Kharar tehsil.

The court has issued notices to these defendants for June 15.

In a press note issued by 44 advocates here today, members of the Kharar Bar were surprised to read a news in the Press today that suit had been filed against news papers.

They said the members felt strongly that it was an attempt to scuttle the fundamental rights of the Press to publish news.

An overwhelming majority of Bar members appreciated the role of media in publishing the news of Khanpur land with photos. They said they were ready to cooperate with the Press. They shall render legal help to the Press.

A case has been filed against The Tribune Group, Indian Express, Times of India, Hindustan Times, Des Sewak, Punjab Kesri and Ajit. 


Pact with BSP not ruled out: Badal
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, June 8
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab, while talking to mediapersons at a press conference at Tahliwala Jattan village, 20 km from here, revealed this morning that the Shiromani Akali Dal could enter into poll pact with any political party in the ensuing Assembly elections to defeat the Congress party. Mr Badal indicated his party’s inclination for alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party. Commenting on Punjab BJP president Brij Lal Rinwa’s demand for 45 seats, he said an accord on this issue would be reached amicably at the time of elections.

To a question on compulsion of offering the only recently vacated seat of Rajya Sabha from Punjab to the BJP, Mr Badal said in a lighter vein that because the BJP demanded the seat so the SAD relinquished it. The Chief Minister said the voluntary retirement scheme had been implemented in Punjab and desirous employees could apply for it.

When the Chief Minister’s attention was drawn towards rise in number of murders, docoities and thefts in the area, Mr Badal gave directions to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ferozepore, who accompanied him, to check crime.

Regarding non-implementation of his announcement of setting up posts of Additional District Commissioner and Superintendent of Police at Fazilka, the Chief Minister said regular appointments on the newly created posts would be made in near future. Dismissing allegations of framing Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former Chief Minister of Punajb, in a false case of misuse of funds, Mr Badal clarified that he had never acted out of political vendetta. Earlier, he laid foundation stone of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Industrial Training Institute to be managed by the Jathedar Jagdev Singh Educational and Welfare Society. Mr Badal also laid foundation stone of 5 km link road from Mahuana Bodla to Dabwala Kalan villages. 


BJP has lost moral moorings: CPI
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 8
The Punjab CPI secretary, Dr Joginder Dayal, said yesterday that the BJP had lost its moral and ideological moorings and was pursuing politics of “rank opportunism” for staying in power. Addressing a function organised to pay tributes to Malkiat Chand Mehli, who was gunned down by terrorists, at his native Mehli village, near here, Dr Dyal alleged that the BJP-led government at the Centre was “abandoning” India’s policy of non-alignment and allowing the USA to set the country’s foreign policy agenda.

He alleged that the US President was dictating terms to India on the Kashmir issue.

Dr Dayal alleged that history was being distorted, polity communalised and education system being saffronised by the BJP.

He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal was “debasing” democracy with his sangat darshan programmes.

He alleged that all democratic norms were being thrown to the winds in these “politically motivated” programmes.

Dr Dayal expressed confidence that a third front of secular parties would come up in Punjab to defeat the SAD-BJP ruling combine.

Mr Kulwant Singh, former MLA, Mr Bant Singh Brar, general secretary, Punjab AITUC, Mr Mohan Lal Mehli, district secretary, CPI, also addressed the gathering.


Congress pro-poor, says Singla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Rebutting the statement made by the Punjab Çhief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, that the Congress had been anti-poor and anti-people, Mr Sant Ram Singla, spokesman of the party, said that the Congress had always followed the policy of empowering the poor and downtrodden.

Alleging that the Shiromani Akali Dal was a party of big landlords and capitalists, Mr Singla said that it was the Congress which framed the job reservation policy for the socio-economic uplift of the poor.

He said the Congress provided remunerative prices to farmers while they suffered a huge loss as the Badal government failed to make proper arrangements for the procurement of paddy last year. He said no compensation had been given so far to farmers in this connection.


Lok Morcha session
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 8
The biannual session of the Lok Morcha, Punjab, will be held at Bhucho Khurd village of the district on June 9 and 10. According to a press note issued here yesterday by an office-bearer of the Lok Morcha, in the biannual state-level session, newly-elected delegates of different units of the organisation would participate.


MC staff stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, June 8
Functioning in municipal council office here today remain paralysed as the majority of employees sat on a dharna in protest against the alleged beating up of Mr Jagdish Raj Wadhwa, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Fazilka, by civic body chief Mohinder Partap Dhingra and his BJP supporters yesterday.

A large number of municipal council’s Safai Karamchari Union members and representatives of the All-Employees Coordination Committee, Fazilka, participated in the dharna. They staged a rally and condemned the incidence of hooliganism and manhandling of women employees and demanded stringent action against the civic body chief and his supporters.

Mr Harbhajan Singh Khunger, general secretary of the All-Employees Coordination Committee, Fazilka, Mr Sohan Singh, president, Municipal Council Employees Union and Mr Raj Kumar and Rameshwar, president and secretary, respectively of the Safai Karamchari Union, addressed the rally and warned to continue agitation if they were not assured proper security.

Later, they submitted a memorandum to the SDM, Fazilka, which was addressed to the Chief Minister of Punjab.

Meanwhile, Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, a former MLA of Fazilka and secretary, PPCC, flayed the beating up of the executive officer and condemned the SAD-BJP regime for intimidating government officials. He demanded an immediate dismissal of Mr Dhingra.

On the other hand, Dr Ramesh Verma, Mr Janak Raj Jhamb, president and secretary, respectively of the local BJP unit, ciritcised the functioning of the executive officer. They demanded his transfer.

Meanwhile, according to reliable sources, as the matter has been brought to the notice of Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, MLA, Fazilka, and the Forest Minister, Punjab, he is understood to have asked Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Minister for Local Bodies, to shift the executive officer.


Suicide case: senior official transferred
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 8
The stay orders on the arrest of Mr Rajdeep Singh Brar, Assistant Commissioner (General), against whom the charges of alleged harassment in Kartar Singh suicide case were levelled, has been extended till June 12. It has been learnt that he has been transferred out of the district, due to which there is resentment among employees who had observed a pen-down strike yesterday.

The incident of suicide by Kartar Singh, a senior clerk at the Deputy Commissioner’s office, has brought to fore the growing resentment among the employees on account of the dictatorial attitude by certain officials. Kartar Singh had shot himself and also killed his two teenaged daughters with a .12 bore gun. He had left behind a suicide note in which he held Mr Brar responsible for the suicide.

Though the clerical staff alleges high-handedness on part of certain officials, the officials say they have no alternative but to take stern action sometimes to maintain discipline. However, there is no mala fide intention behind it.

Although the officers did not rule out the snubbing of Kartar Singh by Mr Brar, they claim that Kartar Singh was not punctual and had provoked strict action. A senior officer no condition of anonymity said there were some “lucrative seats” in the DC’s office. When any staff member was shifted from such places, it would cause frustration and disillusionment among the employee.

The suicide note indicates desperation out of delay in salary, leading to a financial crunch. Did Mr Rajdeep Singh Brar actually overlooked the family circumstances of the deceased who was the sole bread winner of the bereaved family of mother, wife and four kids are the moot questions? Although the employees union has decided to provide financial help to the bereaved family but the suicide puts a question mark on the style of functioning at offices.


Quit drugs, marry off daughter
Raj Sadosh

A major incentive to boost drug deaddication has been announced by some social activists for the rural areas, keeping in view the increasing use of the drugs in Abohar subdivision and the adjoining villages.

At a function held earlier this week at Dangarkhera village, 7 km from here, to solemnise mass marriages, the organisers announced that if poor families pledged to be teetotallers and stopped using poppy husk, opium, smack and other kinds of intoxicants, their daughters would be married at such functions.

This was the second function organised by Baba Ram Dev Seva Samiti in the area. The first was held at Panjkosi village. Mr Sohan Lal, chairman, Market Committee, was associated with the week-long Baba Ram Dev Katha Yajna which concluded with the marriages of 21 girls from poor and needy families of Abohar and Fazilka areas. A team of 60 young workers of Gram Sudhar Sabha, dressed in attractive uniforms, worked round the clock on all seven days to make the event a success. They undertook the job of clearing drains and streets, besides decorating the entrance route with small multicoloured flags.

The workers helped in preparing tea and meals for the visitors who thronged the pandal inside Basanti Mata Mandir throughout the week.

On the day of the mass marriages, the pandal was occupied by traditionally dressed women numbering more than 5,000. A separate block was provided for men.

Meals and tea was served near the pandal by the organisers. The number of persons in each wedding party was limited and some were accompanied by video cameramen. Each bride was given silver ornaments, bed and beddings, 11 pairs of clothes, dinner and tea set, chairs, sewing macine, fan, make-up box etc.

Mr Kuldeep Kumar Sahu of Bodiwala Pitha village handed over a wrist watch and a purse containing the shagun amount while blessing the couples Mrs Khazan Devi Parihar, a social worker, presented a pack of utensils to each couple. Mrs Nirmala Jiyani, wife of Mr Surjit Kumar Jiyani, Minister for Forests, presented a shagun cheque for Rs 5,100 to 11 parents of the brides belonging to Dalit families from Fazilka. Other eligible families will get their cheques from Abohar later on.

Mr Sahu, Mr Sohan Lal, Mr Ajay Maluja, DSP, Mr Raj Kanwer, an employees’ leader, Mr Chanan Ram, president, Gram Sudhar Sabha, and Mrs Parihar were among those who addressed the gathering.They told the newly-weds that it was more graceful to get married at such a famous temple than at a marriage palace. They urged the bridegrooms to take a pledge that they would neither take drugs nor demanded dowry.

It was announced that the next such function would be held at Sappanwali village on August 16.


Robot that clears garbage on rail track
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 8
Students of the local Government Polytechnic College have invented a robotic vehicle to clear railway tracks of garbage. The vehicle performed flawlessly during a demonstration exercise conducted at the local railway platform today.

The ‘tracked robot’ invented by Samir Sachdeva, Paramhans Raghav, Shalinder Talwar, Vishal Watta, Jaswinder Singh and Ajit Mishra in association with Mr Kuldeep Singh Nagla, Lecturer, Government Polytechnic College, has been designed to remove material from the surface below the track.

The robot is made of an automatic control high-pressure water jet to exert pressure on waste material, a logic controller, indicator and audio-alarm.

Mr Nagla, who participated in the second Asian Symposium on Industrial Automation and Robotics held at Bangkok recently, talking to TNS said the flexibility of the robot was very high and it could work fast and with accuracy. The cost of the robot was very less. He said the invention took him and his students three years.

He pointed out that the cleaning of the surface below the railway track at platforms was done manually. At the platforms, excreta was a major problem. To remove this a cleaning operation was required immediately after the train departed.

He said the robot had been specially designed to work in an efficient manner on busy platforms. The robot, which could travel 10 to 20 feet in two horizontal directions, could be adjusted on the small tracks laid below the waterpipe installed between two rail tracks on platforms. The robot, whose movements were controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC), could be adjusted according to the height of the track.

The robot could be so programmed as to take uniform time to cover a particular distance of the track and stop automatically at one end of the track and then again start work in the reverse movement. 


Register’ case against octroi contractor

Barnala, June 8
Expressing concern over the alleged intimidation of traders by the local octroi contractor and his men and one failure of the Barnala police to take any action against them, Mr Prem Chand Aggarwal president, Beopar Mandal, Barnala, has demanded the registration of case against Surinder alias Happy and his five men for alleged intimidation of two employees of Jain and Company, Barnala.

Traders and public of Barnala are sore over intimidating altitude, of octroi contractor and his men.

The Cloth Merchants Association Barnala in a complaint dated 30.5.2001 lodged with the SSP, Barnala, had demanded the registration of case against Surinder and his five men for intimidating Ajay Kumar and Sarbjit, the two employees of the Jain and Company, Barnala, when they brought cloth here by an inter-city train.

The two employees were bidding to get octroi receipt from Munshi at Railway station octroi Naka, when Surinder along with five men interrupted them saying both they would not be issued any octroi receipt as 21-time penalty had to be realised from them. When Ajay and Sarbjit said it was unfair, they were abused and manhandled and forced out of the naka.



Anti-power theft drive by PSEB
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 8
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today launched an anti-power theft drive in all its zones.

The drive was launched by board Chairman G.S. Sohal from the board headquarters here with the flagging off two groups of rallyists. The rallyists will traverse two routes from Patiala to Barnala and the other from Patiala to Ropar.

An official spokesman said under the drive, members of the enforcement wing would conduct surprise checks along the route of the rally. The spokesman said such rallies had been flagged off by various officers in various parts of the state in coordination with the enforcement wing.

Such a rally had been held earlier too and had brought about positive results. He said theft of energy worth crores had been detected during the earlier drive. Efforts would again be made to spread awareness on the need to conserve energy as well as ensure it was not stolen. The rallyists distributed pamphlets along the route for this purpose.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, the Board Chairman called upon the board employees to serve the consumers to their satisfaction and make sincere efforts for the detection of theft of energy which, he said, would help considerably improve the financial health of the board. He warned erring employees against helping offenders. 

Awareness rally by PSEB staff
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 8
More than 200 employees of technical and non-technical wing of the PSEB participated in a rally here today to create awareness among people about the significance of power sector in daily life. The rally was organised by the west zone of the board. Mr Baldev Singh Mann, administrative member of the PSEB, flagged off the rally.


Sewage floods PSEB office
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 8
As the office of sub-division number one of the Punjab State Electricity Board remained closed for the second day today, receipt of electricity bills had to be suspended.

The Assistant Engineer of the subdivision in a letter addressed to the Senior Executive Engineer of the Board here said overflowing sewerage water and rain water flooded the office complex yesterday. The sewerage was blocked as the road outside the office had been raised. The complex was stinking. It was practically impossible for the employees to enter.

The engineer stated that the building was in bad shape. Flooding of the complex could also damage the records. He has requested the Xen to make alternate arrangements immediately. A copy of the letter has been sent to the SDM also.



Lawyers observe strike
Our Correspondent & UNI

Malerkotla, June 8
Members of the local Bar Association today struck work to express solidarity with the agitating lawyers of Sangrur.

The association also held its executive meeting where condemning the incident, the members demanded the immediate suspension of DSP Surjit Singh Grewal and SDM Indu Malhotra allegedly responsible for the lathi charge on the lawyers on May 18 at Sangrur.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann, president, Mr Rajesh Rikhi, secretary of the association, Malerkotla, and other senior advocates urged the Punjab Chief Minister to intervene in the matter.

Advocate Gopal Krishan Gupta condemned the policemen who allegedly resorted to lathi charge on lawyers who were demonstrating peacefully to press for the acceptance of their demands.

MOGA: Advocates here on Friday struck work and observed total strike in response to a call given by the state level lawyers conference held at Sangrur on Thursday in support of the demands of the Sangrur advocates.

The Sangrur advocates at a conference unanimously condemned the alleged police lathi charge on peaceful rally by the advocates on May 18 while they were proceeding to lay the foundation stone of the lawyers chambers in the newly constructed judicial complex at Sangrur.

The Moga advocates at their meeting on Friday presided over by its president Khushwinder Pal Singh criticised the state government’s attitude towards their demands.

Similar reports of advocates’ strike were received from Faridkot and Muktsar where respective Bar assoications held their meetings and resolved to extend support to Sangrur advocates. 

BARNALA: Work in the local courts was badly hit today as the local lawyers observed strike to express their solidarity with the agitating lawyers of Sangrur.

Mr Mukand Singh Uppal, president of the local bar association, said the strike by lawyers yesterday and today was complete.

He said a large number of lawyers from Barnala participated in the state-level lawyers’ protest rally at Sangrur yesterday to demand the suspension of the SDM, Sangrur, and the DSP, Sangrur, allegedly responsible for the lathi charge on lawyers of Sangrur on May 18, withdrawal of cases registered agaisnt lawyers of Sangrur and construction of chambers for lawyers at Sangrur.


Defence Ministry’s proposal flayed
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 8
In the wake of the Defence Ministry’s proposal of handing over the administration of the 62 cantonments in India, which came into being more than 250 years ago, and the defence estate offices to the Army, the elected members of all cantonment boards falling under the Western Command have held a meeting in which they decided to oppose any such move.

Residents of the cantonment areas have criticised the decision. Although there is no official word on it, but sources indicate that the move to bring cantonment boards throughout the country directly under the Army is in final stages.

According to information, the Defence Ministry has sent the proposal to the Cabinet for sanction.

As per the prevailing set-up, there is equal representation of both civil elected members and the Army with the Station Commander as the president and the executive officer as the secretary of the board.

In the meeting it was decided to constitute a body “Western Command. Cantonments Elected Members Association” to further spearhead the agitation till the decision is not revoked.

Members of various cantonments resolved to go on strike and observe fast unto death in front of the Defence Ministry.



Thrust on elimination of TB
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 8
A sum of Rs 1.06 lakh has been given for purchase of three motor cycles by the District Tuberculosis Control Society to the doctors who are in charge of the revised national tuberculosis control programme.

This was stated by Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, while handing over the keys for the vehicles. He said that the equipment had been made available to increase the reach of the programme and treatment of tuberculosis patients even in remote villages.

Mr Bir added that Rs 4 lakh would be spent on the purchase of a four-wheeler for the project.

Mr Bir said that the doctors should analyse the tuberculosis patients with the help of panchayats, patwaris and other officials so that none is deprived of the facility available through the tuberculosis control scheme. Meanwhile, Mr Bir has also asked the sarpanches, panches and members of social organisations of the villages to provide support to the doctors for analysing the tuberculosis patients.

Under the programme launched by the tuberculosis division of the Health and Family Welfare Department, Patiala district has been selected as the centre of the pilot project for the elimination of tuberculosis. The units selected for the accessibility of the programme are Samana, Nabha and Rajpura.


Action against widow pension ‘beneficiary’
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 8
The Housing and Urban Development Minister, Punjab, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, has ordered legal action against a “beneficiary” whose fake widow pension case was established after the complaint of a District Grievances Committee member.

The minister issued the orders while presiding over a meeting of the committee here today.

It was found in an inquiry that Savitri Devi wife of Kuldeep Chand of Hazipur village of this district, was drawing widow pension for which she was not entitled. She returned Rs 3,650 drawn as pension to the Social Security Department after she was found guilty.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur ordered the municipal council at Kurali to settle all 27 cases of encroachments in the town and allot the encroached land as per the recent decision of the Punjab Government.


Three-day Jor Mela concludes
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 8
The 84th three-day Jor Mela in connection with Agman Purb of Guru Hargobind Singh today concluded at the nearby historic village Palahi.

Guru Hargobind Singh had fought his fifth battle against the Mughals in 1634 at Palahi. Punjab Ministers Swarna Ram and Sarwan Singh Phillaur addressed the congregation. Mr Swarna Ram announced upgradation of the girls primary school and a grant of Rs 1 lakh for it.

Akali leaders Jarnail Singh Wahid and Jatinderpal Singh Palahi also spoke. 


Panel inspects roads in Faridkot
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 8
A team of the Estimate Committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, headed by Mr Gurdeep Singh Bhullar, was here yesterday to inspect the condition of roads and various projects in the district. During its one-day tour, the team toured several villages, including Veerawala, Jalaleana, Duareana, Wara Draka, Thara Maur, Machaki Mal Singh, Dheema Wali, Wander Jatana, besides Faridkot and Kotkapura, to inspect the roads. The committee members also inspected the waterworks and health centre at Jand Sahib village and a drain from Sadiq to Deep Singh Wala, besides bridges in other villages of the area.

Panchayats of these villages also met the team members and apprised them about their problems. Mr Hussan Lal, ADC, and Mr K.S. Brar, Superintending Engineer (Bridge and Roads) and many other senior officers accompanied the team during the tour.

The team will submit its report during the next session of the state Assembly.


Escorts to establish hospital in Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Delhi, June 8
Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre Limited (EHIRCL) and Amritsar Hospital Limited (AHL) have joined hands to establish a super-speciality cardiac care hospital in Punjab.

To be named as the Escorts Heart and super-speciality Institute Limited, the facility is expected to be commissioned within a year’s time, a statement said.


Urs of Pir Mir Sahib observed
Our correspondent

Bathinda, June 8
Devotees thronged the “maqbara” of Pir Mir Sahib in the city in a large number last evening to observe the urs of the Pir.

Devotees started visiting the “maqbara” from the afternoon and long queues could be seen at the tomb of the Pir. They offered prayers at the tomb. People belonging to all communities were present on the occasion.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Punjab Minister for Science and Technology, was present on the occasion. He said the ruling SAD-BJP alliance had decided to observe such occasions as state functions.


Farmer commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 8
Neta Singh, a marginal farmer of Bhucho Khurd village committed suicide late last night after jumping before a running train on the Bathinda-Patiala rail section.

Police sources said that Neta Singh took this extreme step due to bad economic conditions which he had been undergoing for the past many years.

About two years ago, the elder brother of the deceased also died under abnormal circumstances.

The deceased, having two children apart from wife, was also looking after the family of his deceased brother also.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that the deceased had applied for temporary power connection for paddy season.

The PSEB authorities had sent him a demand notice.

The deceased had failed to arrange the money which was required to be deposited with the demand notice.

The deceased and his two brothers were making ends meet with only six acres of land and facing virtual starvation.

Police sources said that a case in this connection had been registered by the General Railway Police station under Section 174 of the Cr.P.C.


Development new DC’s priority
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 8
Mr R. Venkatratnam Deputy Commissioner, today stated that the development of the district would be his top priority and all projects would be completed at the earliest.

Mr Venkatratnam addressing the first press conference after taking over charge as Deputy Commissioner said he would take personal interest for the completion of the projects that would help in the development of the district.

He said all such projects on which the work had been started or which were in the pipeline would be of big benefit for the residents of the district.

While making new projects care would be taken that the benefits of such projects should reach all sections of society.

The new DC also gave a detail of the projects which had been sanctioned and on which the work was on already. He said he wished that the tag of backward district be removed from Bathinda.

Mr Venktaratnam said most of the projects which were going on in the district were sponsored by the Central Government. For most of the projects the Central Government provided 100 per cent funds and there were also some in which the state government had given about one third of the amount.

Mr Venktaratnam said for the levelling of the sand dunes in the district a special plan under the name Integrated Wasteland Development Project (IWDP) had been made. Under the scheme about Rs 4 crore would be spent for making the wasteland fertile. Under the scheme special attention would be paid to the Talwandi Saabo region because the problem of sand dunes was more prevalant in that area. About Rs 3.37 crore had already been received by the district administration.

The DC further said under the Handloom Special Project Rs 8 crore would be spent. He said in the scheme training about the handlooms would be given to the rural youths and also the financial help would be given to them for starting own business in villages.

Mr Venktaratnam said the district had been selected for a project for rural sanitation. Earlier the scheme of the government was to provide the facility of modern toilets to a few homes in all districts of the state, but now it had been decided one district be selected and the facility be provied to all rural households there. He added that Rs 4.87 crore had been sanctioned for the project.

The Deputy Commissioner said for the development of the villages in the field of information technology computer centres would be opened at the focal points in the district. Financial help would be given to the youths who wanted to start such centres. Priority would be given to those villages which were at a distance.

Training would be given to the students at affordable fee. Technical assistance for the project would be given by the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, he added. 


Opium seized

The Dera Bassi police arrested Habiv, a resident of Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, for possessing 5 kg of opium, worth Rs 80,000, at Sangotha village near here today.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr H.S. Bhullar, said a police party had laid a trap on the village link road for this person, after they had received a tip-off.

Mr Bhullar said that the accused was in this trade for the past many years and used to smuggle the drug from Bareilly. He used to sell the drug at 16,000 per kg in remote villages of Punjab and Haryana.

A case has been registered against him at the Lalru police station.


Course for KV teachers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 8
To create awareness among teachers of the Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) in all parts of the country regarding new trends of teaching and learning processes, a three-week long ‘Interservice Course for Post-graduate Teachers in English’ is underway at Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1 at the cantonment, 10 km from here.

Thirtyfive teachers from 850 Kendriya Vidyalayas of the nine regions, including Chandigarh, Dehra Dun, Jammu, Delhi, Patna, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Lucknow, have been selected for the training.

The focus of the course will be teacher-student relation in the classroom as research reports of the National Council for Education and Research Training (NCERT) say that students can excel in activity-based studies instead in teacher-dominated classes.

The principal of the Kendriya Vidyalaya and associate director of the course, Mr J.S. Gill, said the course would cover different aspects of teaching in English, including poetry, literature, grammar, communication skills, use of aids in English, and group discussions. Student’s involvement in teaching processes would be promoted by designing activity-based lectures. Special teaching programme to provide enjoyment to students while they were being taught, had been prepared, he said.

It was mandatory for every teacher, who had completed 10 years of service in Kendriya Vidyalaya, to attend these courses after every six years, for them to claim senior and selection grades as per UGC guidelines, Mr Gill added.

The interservice course for PGTs in English will conclude on June 22.


PTU prospectus ambiguous: students
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 8
The prospectus issued by the Punjab Technical University (PTU) for the Lateral Entry Engineering Test (LEET), 2001, contain ambiguous statements and necessary information has not been provided therein.

Students, who are to appear in the entrance test to be held on July 1, expressed concern over the mistakes in the admission brochure released by the university. A group of aggrieved students alleged that break-up of the total of 1,100 seats, for which the admission test was to be held had not been given.

Last year the break-up of various seats was given in the prospectus which enabled the students to guess their chances of admission and the competition they would have to face. About 10,000 candidates were expected to take up the entrance test, though the exact figures would be available after the last date of the submission of application forms, they added.

Not only this, the procedures adopted for the verification of the certificates were cumbersome. For example, the CBSE students who had to claim reservations under the rural education category had been asked to get their certificates verified from the Secretary/Deputy Secretary/Direc-tor/Deputy Director of the regional office of the CBSE, Chandigarh. Thousands of students would be forced to go to Chandigarh to get their certificates verified, which would be rechecked at the time of admission, the students said.

Not only this the brochure was also silent on the fee structure of the admissions. The students said that a news item had appeared in leading regional dailies regarding the revision of the fee structure. The brochure was published before the news but the university authorities had not bothered to issue a clarification on the fee structure. Even the website of the LEET help cell, established by the university, had not offered any solution to their problems, they alleged. No senior official of the PTU was available for comments. 


PMET forms in short supply
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
It was a day of struggle and harassment for the parents of students who have to take the Punjab Medical Entrance Test.

On reading an advertisement in newspapers, the parents rushed to a local branch of a private bank in Sector 32 here to buy the prospectus-cum-application form this morning. However, the bank authorities had a limited stock of 50 copies which exhausted in no time, leaving a large number of candidates high and dry.

They had to wait till the afternoon to procure the prospectus. But again, the stock was limited. The situation in Ludhiana was also no better. Parents from Ludhiana rang up their relations and friends here to approach the bank for obtaining the prospectus.

Sources said that in Ludhiana city, first a bundle of 100 prospectus was provided to the bank branch concerned, but it was not enough to meet the demand.

The Baba Farid University of Health Sciences had given an advertisement in certain newspapers informing the public that prospectus will be available at branches of certain banks in various cities. Sources said that the authorities concerned, which were deputed to supply the stock to various branches, were unable to make the prospectus available in adequate numbers to the branches concerned. The price of one copy of the prospectus is Rs 500.

Meanwhile, printing errors have also been noticed in a very important part of the prospectus. For instance, on page 5 (qualifications para), it has been stated that “all those candidates who have passed and secured 50 per cent (45 per cent in case of candidate belonging to the SC\ST category) of aggregate marks in four compulsory subjects that is chemistry, physics, biology and English taken together in ten plus two pattern or equivalent examination shall be eligible to take the PMET.”

However, the notification issued by the Punjab Government which has been incorporated in the prospectus as “Annexure A” says that the “candidates must have passed the subjects of physics, chemistry, biology and English individually and must have obtained a minimum of 50 per cent marks taken together in physics, chemistry and biology in ten plus two examination. In respect of candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes, the marks obtained in physics, chemistry and biology taken together in qualifying examination be 40 per cent instead of 50 per cent”.

It has created a confusion among candidates. However, going by the government notification, which the university authorities are bound to adopt in case of the PMET, the candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes having secured 40 per cent marks in the prescribed subjects in aggregate would be eligible to take the test. For general category candidates, the condition is of 50 per cent marks.

Meanwhile, the PMET would be held on July 7 by the university. The last date for submitting the application forms is June 28. The result of the test is to be declared by July 14.

However, the test should have been conducted and the result declared by now, but the Punjab Government delayed for several weeks in issuing the required notification. The government published the notification at the end of the last month and the university got very less time to publish the prospectus.

It may be mentioned that Punjab Technical University (PTU) has already declared the result of the Central Entrance Test, which was conducted in the last week of May, for admission in engineering colleges.


GND varsity results
Our correspondent

Amritsar, June 8
The results of M.A. (psychology), part-I, B.A. (HS) Punjabi, part-II, and B.A. (HS) Punjabi, second semester, examinations will be declared tomorrow while the results of M.Sc (stats) part-I and part-II and B.Tech (electronics), eighth semester, will be announced on June 11.

Disclosing this, Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said the results of B.A. (HS) Punjabi, part-I and B.Tech (computer science and engineering), eighth semester, and B.Sc (home science), part-I, were already declared.

Meanwhile, a large number of candidates appeared in the entrance test conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University for admission to MCA here today. Mr K.S. Kahlon, entrance test co ordinator, said 1,757 candidates took the test.


Middle class results on June 12
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 8
The results of the middle class examination of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) will be declared on June 12. A spokesman of the board in a press note said the results could be seen at the district textbook depots and tehsil-level depots of the board on June 13 after 11 a.m.

The results of schools of Bathinda, Moga, Muktsar, Mansa, Fatehgarh Sahib could be seen at the sales book depot of the board. Mr B.S. Mann, in charge of the Middle Cell, said the results could also be seen at the following websites:www.punjab and


Activists of mill union block traffic
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 8
Activists of the Save Mill Workers Union of the Budhlada Co-operative Sugar Mills Limited supported by various political parties and local organisations blocked traffic today at the ITI chowk in Budhlada in the district.

Early in the day they staged a demonstration in front of the office of the SDM Budhlada, to press for acceptance of their demands. It included restarting the sugar mill, payment of their arrears and re-employment of workers of the sugar mill who were rendered unemployed due to closure of the mill. They gave a call for ‘Budhlada bandh’ on June 15. The condition of Mr Beant Singh Kainth, president of the union, who has been on fast since June 1 is serious. Members of the worker’s families joined in the hunger strike today.

The workers alleged Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, who opposed the closure and sale of the sugar mill to a private party when he was in the Opposition, was now instrumental in giving the mill into private hands. The workers alleged the state government acquired their land at very cheap rates on the promise that they would be given permanent jobs at the mill. But now the government had decided to sell it off. Mr Kainth, who also addressed the agitators, threatened to immolate himself if the government failed to do anything for the workers.


Corporation status for Bathinda sought
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 8
Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, today urged the state government to upgrade the city municipal council into a corporation as its population had crossed the 5 lakh mark which was a prerequisite for the step.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Kapoor said the city had made a lot of progress in the past few years. If the city was made into a corporation, residents would be able to enjoy the facilities of which they were deprived, he said.

The Beopar Mandal president said the move would also expedite various development projects and consequently the pace of development would be faster, he said. The demand to make the city a corporation had been raised from time to time by various sections of society, he added.

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